|Today we visited the Athabasca Falls. There is a short paved walking path from the parking lot, making this fall easily accessible to all. From the bridge overlook there is an optional dirt path, which included several steps, down to the river canyon below, which we did. A different perspective down there and an easy trek as well. Most anyone would have no trouble navigating the descent. It was 66 degrees today and the sun felt good. A light sweatshirt sufficed and we are thrilled, as we were concerned that it is so late in the year that winter would have already arrived. One word of caution. Mist from the falls covers surrounding rocks with a thin, slippery film of water. So if you visit, keep that in mind.
The 23-metre Athabasca Falls is not very high by Canadian Rockies standards, but the size of the river makes it one of the most powerful falls to be found in the mountain national parks. Pouring over a layer of hard quartzite, the river thunders through a narrow gorge, where the falls have cut into the softer limestone, carving intricate features, including potholes and a short canyon.
Flowing from the glaciers of the Columbia Icefield, the Athabasca River is the largest river system in Jasper. In 1810, David Thompson, Canada's premier map-maker and explorer, plied the Athabasca in search of a viable fur trade route to the Pacific Ocean. Discovering Athabasca Pass in early January 1811, David Thompson's route helped establish Canada as a country that spans the North American continent.
In 1862, the Overlanders traveled along the Athabasca River headed for the Cariboo Goldrush, followed 30 years later by two national railways. Today one railway and a transcontinental highway follow parts of the river through the park. Recognized for its historical, natural and recreational values, the Athabasca was designated a Canadian heritage river in 1989. Good for them! And for us of course! Now we can all enjoy this natural wonder for many years to come.
We've included a few short video clips of the falls today, taken with my new Canon camera, a birthday gift from hubby. It did a pretty good job so hope you enjoy seeing and feeling the power and sound of this pretty waterfall!
P.S. Apparently the first and last video's I shot are too long and would not load. Boo hoo...And, I am not impressed with the time it takes them to load, but if you feel like hanging in there you'll still get the gist of it....